Everyone’s talking about telehealth lately. Within the Medical Spa industry in the last 90 days, telehealth has moved from the realm of “we need to see about putting that on our website” to “we need it next week!” and this Google Trends data shows why:
Clearly — the world is now talking about telehealth. But the reality is, there’s more to rolling out telehealth than simply deciding to do so.
For many years, most consumers’ experience with telehealth (if they had any at all) was through a desktop portal experience. A patient would consult with an unknown healthcare professional in an unknown location, which isn’t an optimum experience. I was personally told on several occasions that my doctors wouldn’t/couldn’t talk on the phone with me. If I wanted any kind of service, I needed to make an in-person appointment. I’m well aware of the constraints that HIPAA rules place on the healthcare industry, but there sure were a lot of times I wished I could just knock out a quick question over the phone or via video.
So when President Trump announced a loosening of the HIPAA restrictions on telehealth, dreams of a same-day phone consult came into sight. But med spa owners knew that it wouldn’t be as simple as FaceTiming the office the moment you feel like setting up an appointment.
Before you launch telehealth for your med spa, start by asking these questions
There are a lot of operational questions that have to be answered before a practice can offer legitimate telehealth services, such as:
- What platform will you use?
- How will you schedule appointments?
- How will you bill for telehealth appointments?
If your practice has already answered those operational questions, congratulations! Most consumers and patients are pretty motivated to NOT go to a doctor’s office right now, so providing an alternative is important for capturing the attention of current patients and the rest of your local community.
So, when you’re operationally ready to run telehealth services, the next question needs to be, “Who cares?” I don’t mean this in a funny way — your health system should consider the types of patients you’re best-equipped to handle, and then focus on messaging tactics that make sure they know you’re offering telehealth services. Who do you want to target?
- Existing patients only?
- Prospective new patients?
- Primary care only?
- Other service lines?
- A combination of these?
The importance of educating current and potential patients about telehealth services underscores how vital the healthcare marketer’s job is in the current climate. As with any emerging technology, but particularly when dealing with people’s health, patients need to be clearly told how and where they can access the services you’re offering.